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26th Infantry Division

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Twenty-Sixth Infantry Division / 26th Division



"The Yankee Division"



During World War I., a press conference of Boston newspapermen was called by the Commanding General to determine a nickname for this division, which had just been inducted from New England National Guard units. The adopted suggestion was, "Call it the 'Yankee Division' as all New Englanders are Yankees", and a dark blue monogrammed 'YD' on an olive drab background was officially designated as the division insignia.


From: http://yd-info.net/index.html



World War I



St. Mihiel



World War II

Northern France



Central Europe



July 1917

Jan 16, 1941

Nov 13, 1946



May 1919

Dec 29, 1945





World War I


The 26th Infantry Division was formed in summer 1917, a few months after the United States entered World War I, and participated in several battles in France.


Activated: July 1917 (National Guard Division from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont).

Overseas: October 1917.


Major Operations: Champagne-Marne, Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne


Days of combat: 210


Casualties: Total-13,664 (KIA-1,587 ; WIA-12,077)


Commanders: Maj. Gen. C. R. Edwards (22 August 1917), Brig. Gen. P. E. Traub (12 October 1917), Brig. Gen. C. H. Cole (22 October 1917), Brig. Gen. P. E. Traub (31 October 1917), Maj. Gen. C. R. Edwards (11 November 1917), Brig. Gen. P. E. Traub (25 November 1917), Maj. Gen. C. R. Edwards (1 December 1917), Brig. Gen. Frank E. Bamford (25 October 1918), Maj. Gen. Harry C. Hale (19 November 1918)


Inactivated: May 1919



World War II


In September 1944, the "Yankee" division landed in Normandy at several locations including Utah Beach. The 26th moved quickly through northern France and crossed the Saar River into Germany in early December. During the Battle of the Bulge, it was diverted to Luxembourg to thwart the German offensive.


In late March 1945, the 26th crossed the Rhine River, eventually advancing to Thuringia before turning south toward Austria. On May 4, 1945, the division participated in the capture of the city of Linz, Austria. At war's end, the 26th had moved eastward to Czechoslovakia.


On May 6, 1945, the "Yankee" division overran Gusen concentration camp, which had originally been a subcamp of the Mauthausen concentration camp. Gusen had been established in 1940 to house Mauthausen prisoners closer to the stone quarries where they were forced to work. As Allied bombing raids on Germany increased in intensity, the Nazi leadership decided to move industrial war production underground, using concentration camp prisoners for labor. At Gusen, the inmates were ordered to hollow out of nearby mountains an elaborate system of tunnels that connected to mammoth subterranean installations for aircraft production. In May 1945, as U.S. troops neared the camp complex, the SS planned to demolish the tunnels with the prisoners inside. The arrival of the 26th Infantry and 11th Armored Divisions prevented the SS from carrying out this atrocity.


The 26th Infantry Division was recognized as a liberating unit by the U.S. Army's Center of Military History and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2002.


Activated: 16 January 1941


Overseas: 26 August 1944


Campaigns: Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, Central Europe


Days of combat: 210


Distinguished Unit Citations: 1


Awards: MH-1 ; DSC-43 ; DSM-1 ; SS-955 ; LM-11; SM-47 ; BSM-5,558 ; AM-81


Commanders: Maj. Gen. Roger W. Eckfeldt (January 1940-August 1943), Maj. Gen. Willard S. Paul (August 1943-1 June 1945), Brig. Gen. Harlan N. Hartness (June-July 1945), Maj. Gen. Stanley E. Reinhart (July-November 1945), Maj. Gen. Robert W. Grow (November-December 1945)


Returned to U. S.: December 1945


Inactivated: 29 December 1945


Post World War II


29 December 1945: Inactivated at Camp Myles Standish, Massachusetts


13 November 1946: Reorganized as part of the Massachusetts National Guard


18 March 1957: Headquartered at Dorchester, Massachusetts


1 March 1963: Redesignated as 1st Brigade, 26th Infantry Division, Headquartered at Waltham


1 September 1993: Reorganized as 26th Infantry Brigade, 42nd Infantry Division


1995: Assigned as 26th Brigade of the 29th Infantry Division


2005: Reorganized into the 26th Brigade Combat Team


Divisional history from:








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